Eddie Hall on Fallout of the strongest fight in the world

People think they know Eddie Hall. They know him as a strong man; they know him from boxing; they have seen him performing online. But the person they meet is Hall’s larger-than-life alter ego, The Beast, who is unleashed whenever there’s a strongman event to win or a boxing event to promote.

Recently, however, Hall has been spending more time as himself. The most obvious reason is that he is recovering, both mentally and physically, from losing the ‘strongest fight in the world’ to long-time rival Hafþór ‘Thor’ Björnsson. But that is not the only reason. Hall is also recovering from losing his health to Covid-19 and losing his best friend to suicide.

For now, The Beast is on the defensive, and it’s Eddie Hall who men’s health is speaking today. He’s much calmer, and much more considerate, than the man who was hurling insults at (and receiving quite a bit of) at Björnsson in the lead up to their fight.

He’s had time to think and reflect, and two months later, here’s what he thinks of the fight now. As he says, he offers no excuses, only facts.

Men’s Health: Almost two months after the strongest fight in the world, how do you feel about the fight now?

Eddie Hall: I think it has been a great life lesson. Getting in the ring with someone and settling your differences is something most people should try in their lifetime. People have disputes, they get stressed out, they go to court and all that shit, but honestly, I think just get in the ring and settle your differences that way. It’s a spectacular way to do it. Ultimately, when you’re in the fight, and after the fight, all you can do is respect the other man because it takes huge balls to get in a ring and go toe-to-toe. For me, it was a great way to bury the hatchet and let go of all the frustrations.

Obviously losing the fight is hard to accept, but I think losing is a big part of life. I didn’t beat the strongest man in the world the first time. You have to take those losses, learn, go, recover and come back bigger and stronger. Sometimes losses are better than wins, because they really shape you, and who likes someone who wins it all? Look at Floyd Mayweather. You have to lose at something, and it’s how you act in defeat that you see the true character of a person.

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You’ve had two months to sit with it, live with it, and grow from it. But immediately after the fight, how did you feel?

Obviously I have a lot of shit online, as does any fighter who loses a fight. Look at Dillian Whyte now, he’s getting a lot of shit online. It’s kind of hard to take, and you have to have thick skin in this game, but he really got me thinking about the old Caroline Flack story and all the shit he got online. Ultimately, she took her own life through mental health struggles. This ‘be nice’ nonsense that everyone keeps portraying, these are the same people that come and troll, and literally [I had] people attacking my children, my wife, me. There are so many nasty people out there and for me it was just amazing. I’ve experienced hate throughout my career, but I’ve never seen anything like it in boxing. Never in my life. It’s fucking torturous. I just had to sit on my hands and be humble in defeat. There is no point in yelling and harassing anyone. He’s calmed down now, but fuck me, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Every time I posted something on social media, it was an absolute attack, attack, attack. Thousands of comments appear: ‘you’re a piece of shit’, ‘your children are a fat piece of shit’, ‘your wife is ugly’. Honestly, take a look, it’s fucking horrendous.

Did that surprise you? Because all you did was fight.

Yes, I was, mate. Obviously, one of us had to lose the fight. It is unavoidable. It was never going to be a tie. I think losing something as big as that is hard. But losing a fight in such a large public domain is even more difficult. Losing a fight in such a huge public domain and getting all the shit that comes with it is even harder than that. So I guess it was actually kind of shocking. It really made me realize how horrible people are out there, and it made me realize how important things around me are, like family. At the end of the day, people can say what they want, they can do what they want, they can troll, but all that matters is my wife and kids, and that’s it. During that period, I just thought fuck them. I stayed away from my social media and spent a lot of time with my wife and kids and they just took the distraction away and made me feel better. It’s a tough thing to go through, but I had the right people around me.

“The facts are that I got Covid the week before I flew out for the fight.”

Going into the fight, were you fully fit?

I can get away with every excuse in the book. I can tell you facts, but I’m not going to tell you excuses. The facts are that I contracted Covid the week before I flew out for the fight. My coach wanted to take me out, but obviously it’s the second time, so I can’t withdraw. Again, I don’t want this to be presented as an excuse, this is just a fact. And I don’t know if you noticed during the fight, but I couldn’t use my left arm because I had sprained my bicep again. I tore my bicep six months earlier, and in the lead up it kept pulling and pulling and pulling. In the end, I just decided, I can’t use my left arm, it’s going to rip off again. So basically I had to fight Thor with one arm. Again, that’s just a fact. At the end of the day, the best man won. I went in as best I could, given the circumstances, and did my best. I’m not going to sit here and say that I lost because of x, y, and z. I missed. The harsh reality of life is that you have to take things like a man, and I am.

Some people were less than complimentary about his unorthodox boxing style, which is explained by his injury. Was it painful when people made fun of how you boxed?

No, not really. At the end of the day, I did the best I could under the circumstances, and I couldn’t have done better that night. It’s as simple as that. People might get upset, but I’d like to see them walk into the ring with a 6-foot-10, 300-pound guy and see what they can do because I guarantee they’ll be in the back in 10 seconds.

Do you regret some of the clashes you had with Thor in the lead up to the fight?

Yes, I do. Yes, of course. A lot of eyes are on the fight, and obviously the promoter is always in my ear to start in his gym, and I was like, do I have to? Obviously you have to sell the fight, so I get into his gym on my own, things get heated, things get said. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do those things and I wouldn’t say those things. I feel like it was too much and it’s not a good example for the younger generation. So yeah, if I could go back in time and do it all over again, I’d be Mr. Nice Guy. Looking back now, I wish I had acted differently.

You and Thor have a longstanding feud that has lasted for years. How did it feel to be in the ring with him? Was he cathartic or…?

It was exciting. Obviously, there’s a lot of tension built up over the years, and in the weeks leading up to it, there’s a lot that was said and done that really hurt others, so to be in the ring with him was an absolute thrill. . I really enjoyed the experience. He felt very surreal. That was the first time I was in a crowded boxing match. Having that crowd there chanting my name and all the support I got was amazing. So yeah, it was a great experience.

How do you feel about Thor now?

I guess it’s someone I have to let be. All that has been said and done has been said and done. No one is going to change your opinion. Even if I win the fight, that’s not going to change, so I have to let it go. She let him go. It’s not healthy for either of you. We’ve both said it, and we’re going to move on now. If I see Thor, it will be whatever. He’s just going to be another guy to me. We’re not going to be best friends. But I think the respect is there now. We got in the ring and did business, face to face, and you can’t help but have respect for your opponent for doing that. I think getting in the ring and burying the hatchet, so to speak, is probably one of the best things we’ve ever done, and it makes it possible for both of us to move on.

Do you have his name tattooed on you? Why did you go through that?

On my foot, yes. He is almost worn out. That’s why I had it on my foot because I knew it would go away pretty quickly. You can’t even tell it apart anymore. Another two months and that will be gone. Completely.

Did you do that to get a rematch?

Yeah, all the talk before was about putting money into charity and whoever lost had to get a tattoo for the rematch, so I got it. I am a man of my word. All that had been said and done before, I thought it best to do and we can move on. So if there’s a rematch there, we’ll do it. I don’t want that to stay in my head. It’s like when do you get that rematch clause? Am I still pestering him or is he still pestering me to get the tattoo, and I thought I wasn’t going to give him ammunition? I’ll get the tattoo and then the rematch clause is on him. It’s up to him now to pull the trigger.

So you want that rematch?

I want revenge, yes. I think I do.

The World’s Strongest audiobook by Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall is out now (WF Howes). listen visiting Audible either GooglePlay.

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